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The Need for Supervision in
Massage and Bodywork

When I first read an advertisement for a class on Supervision, I immediately thought that I didn't need anyone telling me how to do a massage.  I have been doing it for 15 years. My practice was flourishing, but I felt like I was working too hard.  I was finally making the money that I needed, but I thought that I just wouldn't be able to keep it up for 20 more years.  After reading an article by Jack Blackburn, a local Trager practitioner, I started understanding that there was a need for supervision in the massage community.

You may want to consider finding a supervisor if you experience some or any of these things:

  • Are you making the money that you need to pay the bills, save, pay your taxes and go on a nice vacation?  If you are making that amount, are you working too hard to get it?

  • Are you friends with some of your clients? Do you feel like you would miss them when they move on or you do? Do you see them socially or do they call you at home?  I often feel that our profession is different since we touch people and see them regularly.  What is wrong with being friends or caring about what happens to them?  How does being friends affect your treatments or how does the client feel?  It does effect client relationships in some way.

  • Do you feel obligated to come in on your day off for clients who are injured or call at the last minute?

  • Do you often work more than the scheduled time to try and get the client feeling better?  Do you expect a tip or other compensation? How does it make them feel?  It may make them feel uncomfortable because they now never know how long a session really is and they may feel confused as to how much to pay you.

  • Do you feel frustrated when you can't "fix" a client?  Is your main treatment goal to "fix" a client?

  • If you don't think you need a supervisor, you may be fooling yourself.

  • You can only take a client as far as you are willing to go yourself.  this means in every way- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually not just physically as many massage therapists may assume.  Do you do all the things you tell your clients to do? Stretch? Drink enough water? Exercise? Eat healthy food?

If you answered yes to any of these but don't really think that it is a problem, you may be surprised when you start looking into these issues.  Most of these issues are a result of projection and the transference/countertransference process that occurs in any kind of relationship.  There is really no right or wrong answer for the above situations or any relationship issue.  What really matters is are your values consistent with your actions and how do you feel about what is happening.

This can be addressed when working with a competent, caring supervisor. 

See also finding a supervisor.








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